We all know getting to REM sleep is important for healing, growth, development, and mental stability - but so many of us struggle to get rest because of anxiety, daily stress, worry, fear, or the to-do list of the next day. This four-step process to restful sleep is one I began using about 30 years before I discovered essential oils. Essential oils only made it better, faster, and even more effective. These steps have helped me sleep in truly uncomfortable places and situations, no matter how much noise, stress, or (how little) time I had available to me, and the best part is: with practice, you can be asleep in less than five minutes. 

Practicing these steps each day for a week or two will give you the best results. When we feel like we've tried every method out there, it is easy to listen to the voice in our heads telling us why this one will fail too.These steps rely on techniques of self-hypnosis I learned many years ago but anyone can do them.

  1. Put on your favorite oil for relaxation. Our favorites are in the graphic at the top of the page. Try different oils - even those that smell like cat pee (Cedarwood to some people), or dirty socks (looking at you, Valerian!) The smelly oils can be just as effective on the bottom of the feet as on the back of your neck or in the diffuser. From this point, you have about 20 minutes for the oil to ping pong through every cell in your weary body.
  2. Empty your brain. Writing down tomorrow's to-do list will not only reassure your brain that you will still get to those items without forgetting anything, but it allows your mind to rest. Put this list in a safe place for use the next time you're working.
  3. Get as comfortable as you can. Maybe you're in a Humvee in the desert, or perhaps you're riding cross-country in a car or plane, or maybe you're lucky enough to be in your own cozy covers - whatever your situation, find the more comfortable position you're able.
  4. Sink down in. This part may take a little practice. But it is the key to this process. You're going to empty your mind, and imagine one of the following two scenarios. Which one of these I use depends on my mood - both are equally effective. For the first, imagine you're in a soft, fluffy cloud, and that you're sinking down into it. As you sink down, feel each part of your body relax more and more. Start with your head and face, move down to your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, hips, thighs, lower legs, feet - each piece needs to relax and grow heavier and heavier as it sinks down into the clouds.
    For the second, imagine you're at the top of a flight of neverending stairs - they just go down, and down, and down. Αs you walk down the stairs, count backwards from 100 and feel each part of your body getting heavy. 
Give some extra time to this technique at first. When I began, I would lay on the floor of my room and walk myself backwards into rest. After about 30 minutes I would arise feeling rested. Gradually I began to use these steps for sleep, until I hit a point where no matter how distracted I was, I could get myself to sleep in minutes. Anyone can learn to do this with practice.

Come back in a few weeks and tell me how it's going! If it's working well for you, share this post to help those in your life who need a little more REM.


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